PORTRAITS IN THE TIME OF COVID
As owner of Primarily Portraits, I have had questions about the safety of sitting for a portrait during COVID. Through bubonic plaques, cholera outbreaks, the “Spanish flu” and HIV/AIDS, artists have continued to paint portraits.
Today, during the COVID-19 pandemic sheltering in place, mask wearing and social distancing have left people wondering about when things will go back to “the way it was." We all crave some return to normalcy; portrait artists do as well.
However, we must all adapt to this new world, including portrait artists. All portraits start with a meeting to discuss the subject’s vision for the painting. Today, they are done though Zoom, Face-Time or Skype.
Photographs provide essential information for the artist. Now, the photo session can be accomplished in person by a family member or professional photographer directed remotely by the artist. In fact, one artist used screen shots for reference material.
Although they have photos, artists prefer to paint from life as one or two sittings. With travel limited, some painters continue to paint through the magic of Zoom. During an in-person sitting, artists sit at least six feet away from their subject and are happy to wear a mask. Before a client visit, studios are cleaned to insure the subject’s safety and sanitizer and masks are always available.
Naturally, the commissioning organizations are concerned about hosting a portrait dedication, the culmination of the process. This is understandable as large indoor gatherings are limited in many parts of the country. The solution for the moment is holding a small portrait dedication in person for close colleagues, family and friends, combined with a virtual event for a larger group including attendees who couldn’t travel to the live event.
WHAT CLIENTS SAY
Jefferson Medical College
"Primarily Portraits has portfolios of artists that are all terrific (we have many in our collection) and Karen makes the process painless."
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